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John Adams to John Quincy Adams, 26 March 1795

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

Quincy March 26. 1795

My dear Son

I have but lately received your kind Letter from Amsterdam of the 17th of November and another from the Hague much longer and of an earlier date.1 The last I have Sent to Mr Randolph to be laid before the President, as it contains ample and important Information. These are the only Letters I have as yet recd from you. Your Mother has received others. Your Letters both public and private, I have reason to think have given Satisfaction.

The Treaty arrived Since the Dissolution of Congress and Senate are Summoned to meet at Philadelphia on 8. of June, which will occasion me a Supernumerary fatiguing Journey.2 The last Session of Congress was so peaceable that I presume the Treaty will be ratified, tho I know not what it is.

The News I can give you are worth very little. The Rage of Speculation in Lands in the southern and Eastern States is as violent as ever. The Prices of Things are very high. The Banks have Stopped discounting for some Months, in Boston which may check the disorder in some degree. Our Governors will be the Same this Year as last.

The State of Europe is Such, that Peace must be made, this Year or the next. What Terms the French will exact of England I cannot conceive. Surrender, and Restoration of all Conquests; Demolition of Portsmouth to revenge Dunkirk;3 Limitation of the Number of Line of Battle ships & Frigates for the future, have been suggested by Some French Republicans here. But these are too humiliating for Englishmen as yet.

Our Friends are all well. Mr Cranch and Miss Lucy are both to be married next Week.4

My Farm gallops like a gay hobby Horse— My Eyes are worse this Spring than ever; So bad that I can Scarcely see what I write to you.

Any new Publications of real Merit, I shall thank you to send me.

Will not the flight of Mr Van Staphorst, injure our Money Interests somewhat? American Bankers, any more than American Consuls or Ministers or Agents of any sort, should not be Party Men, in Holland.

The American General you mention, is intitled to Attention and Respect from you as far as Justice claims: but I have particular Reasons for hinting, that, by what I have heard of his Conduct in America during & after the late War, although he is a Stranger to me, your Confidence Should be reserved with discretion.5

Collect yourself, my Dear son: Be always upon your Guard.— If your Father was not always so, he has dearly earned by Experience, the Right of advising you. No Character in human Life requires more Discretion, Caution, and Reserve, than that of a Public Minister in a foreign Country.

Make my Compliments acceptable, if you can, wherever I was known. You Say nothing of Mr Luzac Dr Maclane &c &c.6

May God bless and prosper you and your manly Companion My dear Thomas from whom We have recd Letters as charming as your own, and that is Compliment enough.

I am my Dear son, with a tender Affection your / Father

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Q. Adams Esqr / Minister at The Hague.”; endorsed by TBA: “The Vice President / 26 March 1795 / 23 June Recd / 2 July Answd.” Tr (Adams Papers).

1For JQA’s letters to JA of 9 and 17 Nov. 1794, see JQA to AA, 11 Nov., and note 8, above.

2A special session of the Senate was held between 8 and 26 June 1795 (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989. description ends ). JA and AA departed Quincy on 26 May and stopped in New York where AA remained with AA2, while JA continued to Philadelphia, arriving on 6 June.

3In the 1763 Treaty of Paris ending the Seven Years’ War, the French were forced to remove their fortifications, which the British considered a threat, from Dunkerque. The French considered the overall terms of the treaty a “disgraceful peace” as it marked the end of much of their empire and the acceptance of British naval superiority (Cambridge Modern Hist., description begins The Cambridge Modern History, Cambridge, Eng., 1902–1911; repr. New York, 1969; 13 vols. description ends 6:345–347).

4On 4 April 1795 Lucy Cranch married John Greenleaf (1763–1848), the son of Mary Brown and former Suffolk Co. sheriff William Greenleaf. Although blind since youth, Greenleaf was a proficient musician. The couple had seven children and lived in the Cranch homestead at Quincy (Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family, description begins James Edward Greenleaf, comp., Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family, Boston, 1896. description ends p. 91, 217, 223–224; Frederick A. Whitney, “A Church of the First Congregational (Unitarian) Society in Quincy, Mass., Built in 1732,” NEHGR, description begins New England Historical and Genealogical Register. description ends 18:125–126 [April 1864]).

William Cranch married John’s youngest sister, Anna Greenleaf (1772–1843), on 6 April. The couple settled in Washington, D.C., and had thirteen children (Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family, description begins James Edward Greenleaf, comp., Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family, Boston, 1896. description ends p. 222–223).

5In his 17 Nov. 1794 letter to JA (Adams Papers), JQA wrote of the arrest of Gen. John Skey Eustace, for whom see vol. 7:333, by the Dutch government. JQA expressed his hesitancy at involving himself in the situation as Eustace had served in the French Army, but he concluded, “He is however as a Citizen of the United States, entitled to every proper exertion on my part, for securing to him the privileges of our neutrality, as far as he has not personally forfeited his right to them.”

JA’s opinion of John Skey Eustace likely stemmed from his eccentric behavior during and after the American Revolution; his unsuccessful petition to Congress for back pay, which was made after he resigned his army commission; and his subsequent military service in the French Revolution (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, description begins The Papers of George Washington: Presidential Series, ed. W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Jack D. Warren, Mark A. Mastromarino, Robert F. Haggard, Christine S. Patrick, John C. Pinheiro, and others, Charlottesville, Va., 1987– . description ends 3:67–68; JCC, description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, Gaillard Hunt, John C. Fitzpatrick, Roscoe R. Hill, and others, Washington, D.C., 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends 17:462).

6While living at The Hague in 1782, JA attended the services of Rev. Archibald MacLaine, who was the pastor of the English Church (JA, Papers description begins Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977– . description ends , 12:248).

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